There’s been a lot of effort of late in the association community to improve member engagement. As I wrote last year, I believe understanding and measuring member engagement is not a fad; it’s a critical part of every association’s long-term survival and relevance.
When associations measure member engagement, they discover that some portion of the membership (20%? 30%? 50%?) is not engaged at all and the natural tendency is to say “We need to do something to get these members engaged!”
It’s an understandable reaction, but in many cases, it may be a mistake to spend too much time and energy trying to get your disengaged members more engaged. And here’s why: some members won’t engage, but will always renew.
But how could this be? Why would anyone be a member of an association and NOT be engaged?
Many years ago I worked as membership director at the National Association of College and University Business Officer (NACUBO). NACUBO’s primary membership was four-year colleges in the US. At that time, NACUBO had as members all but three of all of the four-year colleges in the US; 99.7% of the market! Yet nearly half of those organizations had little or no engagement with NACUBO. But why?